Stephen Hearns

Lead Consultant Emergency Medical Retrieval Service

Stephen is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine employed by NHS Greater Glasgow and for the past 12 years has been lead consultant for Scotland’s Emergency Medical Retrieval Service.

Inspired by time working with London’s Air Ambulance and in Queensland Australia, in 2004 Stephen conceived the idea of an Emergency Medical Retrieval Service for Scotland. He has led the establishment and development of EMRS since then. Starting as a voluntary, unpaid service, the team subsequently achieved permanent government funding. Stephen now leads a team of 40 doctors, nurses and paramedics who work for EMRS.

EMRS in Scotland has the following roles:

  • Rural secondary aeromedical retrieval from 24 rural healthcare facilities

  • Primary pre-hospital trauma care by road and helicopter

  • Major incident response for the West of Scotland and rural areas

  • Telephone advice service for rural clinicians

He has published a number of papers and book chapters related to emergency medicine and pre-hospital care. He also led the team establishing the Diploma in retrieval and transfer medicine for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and contributes to the organisation of the annual UK retrieval conference.  He is attracted to the challenges of retrieval medicine in demanding remote environments with limited resources.

He has been an active voluntary member of Arrochar mountain rescue team for 18 years and holds the Mountain Leader Award. Stephen acted as medical officer on seven international expeditions before establishing the first expedition medicine course in the UK. He has previously been an instructor on ATLS, ALS and PALS courses.

He regularly acts an expert witness for the NHS Scotland Central Legal Office and for pursuers’ solicitors. He is a Scottish Public Service Ombudsman’s advisor in emergency medicine and pre-hospital care.